On Saturday, September 16, 2017 I attended the bird fair at the 2nd annual Hawaii Island Festival of Birds featuring lectures, discussions and workshops for birders and Hawaii bird enthusiasts. I volunteered to help out at the information booth and then enjoyed a conservation talks, a panel discussions and birding workshops.
I was able to connect with some amazing people. Lizzie Gordon and I hit it off right away, which quickly led to more birding and travel talk with her and her husband, Jeff Gordon, American Birding Association president, Hawaii style (which for those of you who don’t know involves mai tais poolside). Thanks to them both, my friend Che of Advance Wildlife Education and Maui Nui Seabird Recovery Project, and I were invited to attend the gala that evening. To be honest that was NOT enough time spent with Lizzie or Jeff and I’m seriously trying to figure out how I can see them both soon, like at the Rio Grand Valley Birding Festival… here’s hoping Lizzie might consider some Middle Eastern entertainment all expenses paid! 😛
I was also able to meet Kenn and Kimberly Kaufman! I’m sure those names sound familiar to everyone reading this blog entry, as they have authored many field guides and fabulous birding books. Kenn’s talk during the gala event was enjoyed by all as he continued to share fascinating facts, laughs and push the envelope on how humans are similar to birds. I thoroughly enjoyed his observations and anecdotes, especially since I was always scolded for anthropomorphism in my animal behavior and behavioral ecology courses in college. Even more inspiring were the few moments I shared with Kenn talking to him about the conservation work I do in Hawaii with Pacific Rim Conservation, the crowd funding I assisted with, and my new business venture of guiding on my own. He encouraged me to keep up the good work by educating the public, creating a way to help the birds and striving to live off my passion.
The bird fair ended with an amazing yet depressing panel discussion on the last reported sightings of extinct birds in Hawaii. Hawaii is the extinction capital of the world. Hawaii has lost more species of birds than anywhere else, at 77 species. Eric VanderWerf, Jack Jeffrey, Doug Pratt, Sam Gon, Rob Shallenberger and Jim Jacobi made some of the last reporting sightings of a few of these birds. I can’t imagine what it must feel like to know you saw, heard, or photographed the last species of its kind in the wild… the last Kauai O’o singing…